Arise By Any Other Name

The One About Forks

A spearhead points the one path it takes through you, but a fork, a fork is not predestined. A fork has many histories: as hands, as the arms of resistance in the great scullery wars & the lesser galley wars, as an epicurean's crown of thorns. A fork is the precursor to the infinite, the branch that will not stop breaking.

. . . . .

It starts, as usual, with the brand of simple cruelty we have perfected.

In 2002, to avoid disciplinary action, a factory manager orders his staff to dump a malfactored series of five-tined forks in the Mojave desert. The workers roll into the desert at night in their caravan of run-down cars, backseats brimming with forks. They don’t even bother to bury the things, just unload huge piles while their breaths spread and thin in the headlights and their unscrewed thermoses of coffee reply with similar evaporating mouths, like they too have something gorgeous to say: before sound sublimates off their lip and thins to nothing.

. . . . .

From this hideous act, something beautiful is born: the sanctum of malformed, that gentle silver oasis which accommodates the mistakes of industry.

It takes barely a year for UNESCO to declare it a world heritage site. In the years that follow, the site is sanctified and claimed by every major religion

. . . . .

Pilgrimage becomes common.

Now you are thinking: “Pilgrimage, pilgrimage! With that must come his irritating quasimodo/quasimodel brother pilferage?”

You are imagining visitors greeded by the shimmering tiney-gems? After all, it would take saintly restraint to not wrap one's five inquisitive fingers around the five fingers of a mismade fork, a handshake, as innocuous curiosity smeagols into desire.

Therein lies the brilliance of the place. In the day, the forks heat to 200˚F. To steal is to be branded with the tally mark of fools.

If you believe that gloves resolve this, then you have not seen the pictures or taken the pilgrimage, which one does, always, always, without clothing.

. . . . .

Yet the place is shrinking. With no way out, it must be erasing itself.

As though the parts of this city know their own history, that they are mistakes: that they were nearly of use, but by virtue of their difference became, instead, this.

. . . . .

They would rather brush themselves—wrestle their tine-heads like elk—, fleck into pieces light enough for the wind to carry.

They would rather scatter than endure us.